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Vancouver housing co-op finds “life after government” takes lots of planning

Trafalgar Cooperative Housing Association

About this story

  • Organization
    Trafalgar Cooperative Housing Association
  • Region
    Vancouver, BC
  • Area of impact
    Affordable housing
  • Type of investment
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    long version of this story

For years, many in the co-operative movement have viewed the impending end of years of subsidies and assistance from the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation with trepidation. After all, how many people in housing co-operatives have the time, money or expertise to manage much-needed renovations and the social change that come with "life after government"?

But Trafalgar Cooperative Housing Association, a small 20-unit co-op located along a tree-lined street in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood, has found that with a lot of talking and research—and some help from Vancity and other experts—the transition to self-sufficiency can be smoothly achieved.

Trafalgar's board has been thinking through the co-op's future since at least 2006, when it considered the renovations required to keep its three buildings, one of them at least 100 years old, up to code. The solution was a take out a loan for repairs from Vancity, and then to take the actual repairs into its own hands.

The result may be that Trafalgar residents will have one of the nicest places to live in Vancouver, and at a cost that won't break their bank accounts.